(Reuters) – Ben Stokes is back in England’s squad for his own well-being but the all-rounder is not an automatic choice for the third test against India, England coach Trevor Bayliss said on Thursday.
Stokes was cleared of affray on Tuesday over a fight outside a nightclub in Bristol, southwest England last year, which prosecutors said had left two men unconscious.
“It was thought that for his own well-being it was good to get Ben back around the cricket,” Bayliss told a news conference ahead of the clash at Trent Bridge, Nottingham which starts on Saturday.
“There’s nothing automatic about selections, we’ll see how he is mentally as well as physically. We’ll find out over the next couple of days, I haven’t spoken to him yet. We’ve got the next two days to assess where he’s at.”
Stokes picked up six wickets in the first test as England defeated India by 31 runs. Due to his court hearing, he was left out of the second of the five-match series as the hosts doubled their advantage with an innings victory last week.
His replacement Chris Woakes made an unbeaten 137 and picked up four wickets to be named man of the match at Lord’s.
“It’s a good position to be in from a selection point of view,” Bayliss added.
“We’ve got some guys in form. It will be a difficult decision to make. Whether it’s Ben or someone else.”
India coach Ravi Shastri told the team’s misfiring batsmen to show more discipline to avoid another test series defeat in England. The visitors were beaten 3-1 four years ago.
“Conditions have been tough right through this series. That’s where character and discipline come into play. The resolve to know where your off stump is, leave a lot of balls, be prepared to look ugly and dirty and show grit,” Shastri said.
Shastri said skipper Virat Kohli was feeling much better after struggling with back pain in the second test.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)